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What is a short-term rental?

A short-term residential rental is a rental of all or a portion of your home for periods of less than 30 nights. For a more complete overview, read San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A.

What kind of short-term rentals are legal?

You must be the permanent resident of the unit you wish to rent
To be considered the permanent resident, you must spend at least 275 nights a year in the unit where you host short-term rentals.

You must register as a business
Obtain a Business Registration Certificate for your property from the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. This step must be accomplished before you can register with the Office of Short-Term Rentals. Go get registered on the San Francisco Business Portal.

You must become a certified host
You may only offer short-term rentals once you have received a certificate from the Office of Short-Term Rentals. The certificate number must be posted on all listings advertising your short-term rental. Go get registered on the San Francisco Business Portal.

You may only rent 90 unhosted nights per year
"Unhosted rentals" occur when you are not present in your unit during your guests' stay. You may only conduct unhosted short-term rentals for up to 90 nights per calendar year.

What are the laws regarding other types of rentals?

Rentals Longer than 30 Nights: Renter Rights and Rent Control
Rentals for more than 30 consecutive nights (by the same visitors) are not subject to short-term rental regulations or subject to hotel (transient occupancy) taxes. Business personal property taxes may still apply (administered by the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder).

In addition, rental/tenant protections and rent control provisions may apply to stays of 30 days or more. The Office of Short-Term Rentals cannot provide advice on tenant protection or rent control rules and laws. Contact the San Francisco Rent Board for more information.

If rentals are offered for more than 30 nights (for those dwelling units not authorized to offer short-term rentals by the Office of Short-Term Rentals), ensure that booking calendars for all online listings clearly indicate a 30-day minimum stay.

Renting Your Home for Meetings and Events
Some hosts use online platforms to rent out portions of their home for daytime events such as conferences or meetings. This type of activity generally violates Planning Code rules if the space being used is intended for residential use.

Short-Term Rentals in Commercial and Industrial Buildings
Short-term rentals may only be hosted in areas that are permitted for residential use. For example, short-term rentals may not be held in a commercial or industrial building, unless a specific portion of the building is authorized (per the Department of Building Inspection) as a residential dwelling unit. In addition, vehicles (including RVs and Camper Vans) and temporary structures (such as tents, sheds, tree houses, etc.) may not be used for short-term rentals.

Limits on Number of Guests
It is the goal of the short-term rental program to ensure that the residential character of the dwelling unit and the surrounding neighborhood is preserved. As such, you may not offer more than 5 individual short-term rental reservations within your dwelling unit (i.e. offer no more than 5 individual beds as separate, bookable listings). Exceeding this limit may be considered an illegal conversion to a group housing use, subject to revocation of your short-term rental certificate and also subject to enforcement by the Planning Department.

Compliance Information for Hosting Platforms

San Francisco’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 41A) includes certain requirements for hosting platforms offering short-term rental bookings in San Francisco. Specifically, platforms must:

  • Verify that any home offered for short-term rental is lawfully registered with OSTR before the platform may provide, or collect a fee for, booking services for that unit.
  • Submit a monthly affidavit to OSTR affirming that they have exercised reasonable care to verify that hosts utilizing their service are lawfully registered with OSTR.
  • Maintain business records for no less than the prior three years for each of their hosts and short-term rental transactions, and provide this information to OSTR upon request.
  • Please refer to the summary letter and Administrative Guidelines below for further instructions. If platforms fail to comply with these requirements, they may be subject to enforcement action and penalties.

    Summary Letter
    Administrative Guidelines